As misleading as it may seem, this photo is of neither St Ives nor St Ive, and they really are two different places. Both in Cornwall, too! Just remember, if you want the beach, you need the sea 😉
Arriving back late from my few days in Dover, then getting up to go to St Ives for the day was more doable than I expected. I think sitting on the bus for two and a half hours each way helped it not seem like I was doing too much too quickly. I didn’t know anyone else on the trip so had a spare seat next to me, which was taken by a girl in a group of three friends, with the other two sitting in front. Using the logic that it was better to say something before the bus started moving so it wasn’t so awkward if anything needed to be said later in the 2.5 hours of close proximity, I said hello. It worked out quite well because, by the time we got to St Ives, I had been invited to go around with them for the day rather than being by myself! All three knew had met at school, in Tanzania, although one was Greek, one Dutch and one German, all studying in the UK. I somehow found myself spending the day with a group of TCKs! 😀 That was quite cool.
St Ives is well known for beautiful beaches and the weather certainly continued its good show, resulting in quite a while of just staring at the amazing blue sea and sky.
One tip though: if you want an ice cream on the foreshore, have cash. Hardly any of the ice cream places take card payments, and there are no ATMs. There are ATMs further back in the center of town but not right down by the beach.
After a relaxing afternoon in the sun, not getting too sunburnt, building the required beach trip sandcastle, it was back on the bus for another 2.5hours.
Friday was amazingly slow. The afternoon was spent making an amazing cake with a friend. It started as a batch of cookies. But… why go to the effort of making individual cookies, when you can just make one big one and then cut off the amount of cookie you want? Then came the banana cake. We only had a little cake tin, so split the mixture in two to make sure it didn’t go everywhere in the oven. Hmmm… we could stack them to make a banana layer cake. What could we put in the middle? I know! Cookie!! 😀 Okay, but what goes between the cookie and the cakes? Homemade peanut butter and jam caramel, of course. It sounds really weird, but it actually tasted amazing!! I don’t think we would be able to do it again, though, there were some, erm, questionable measuring and substitutions made. Neither of us had measuring spoons or cups. But still, the brave people who tried it enjoyed it, as did we!
We were making it for a desert as we were going to another OODS friends place for dinner. I don’t feel the need to go into great detail about the food and exactly what we did or anything, but I will mention that it was one time when I was happy to be eating vegetarian. See, one friend only eats fish and beef, the other eats fish and chicken, and I eat both beef and chicken but not fish. Yep.
Big Church Day Out
This was an incredible weekend. It started with a few bumps, like not being able to book a ticket on the same train as the others who traveling at the same time, and then one of their trains being cancelled so they had to wait for the next one, and the campsite having hardly any reception so getting in touch with the group already there being quite difficult. However, once we had all arrived and the tents were all pitched, things went amazingly smoothly. What is Big Church Day Out (BCDO)? A massive christian music festival. 23 thousand people, some camping, some just there for the day; two days of music; multiple stages; big names in christian music. Groups like Worship Central, Hillsong, Casting Crowns, Newsboys, Switchfoot, Bethel Music, Rend Collective, people like Stuart Townend and so many more! My favourite was probably either Rend Collective in general, or seeing Casting Crowns perform their song Thrive which has been something of a theme song for my time here in England. It was all held on a property called Wiston House which has extensive grounds, perfect for having thousands of people pour in from all over the country for the weekend once a year. From midday each day, the stages would kick off and have back to back performances until about 8:30 when the final couple of performances took place on the main stage until 10pm. After that, people who weren’t camping would leave and those of us who were had extra events we could go to, such as a campfire or comedy evening, until midnight when people would drift to their tents to get as good a sleep as they could before it started over again! The final night (some people stayed Friday night as well, so for them it was the third night but it was only my second) there was a thunder storm which, being in a tent, was pretty impressive. While walking back to the tent, we went too sure which way to go (neither of us had a torch) until a flash of lightning lit up the whole campsite for us momentarily. See, everything has its uses! 😉
Leading up to the weekend I had been increasingly more nervous about going because it seemed the main people I had been wanting to go with weren’t going after all. It turned out that those who did go were still ones I wanted to get to know more before leaving and I had such a fantastic time that after I arrived, there were no regrets. Apart from maybe booking my train earlier, so I could reserve a seat. Catching a train to London on the first day of a long weekend = no spare seats = sitting on a backpack in the corner for a few hours.
While all I wanted to on Monday, travelling home, was sleep and not stand up any more, Tuesday I was on the move again. The original plan was Cleeve Abbey but eventually we decided that Totnes Castle was slightly easier to get to. The trip started with watching my friend run across the train station to jump on the train just in time – nice to get the blood pumping before a day out!
As well as going to the castle, we looked around the town a bit too. We had fun looking around bookshops and charity shops and the like, including me buying my first sugar mouse. It was very nice, I enjoyed sucking on it while reading a book in the church was looked around. While I was reading, my friends was asking the ladies at the church cafe if they knew of her great aunt, as she was trying to find her. They were very helpful, getting their phone book from next door, even showing us the way to where one of them thought she might live. Unfortunately none of the number were the right one, and she was out when we knocked on the door. So we thanked the church lady and said we would go to the castle and come back later to try again.
The castle wasn’t as elaborate as some of the others I’ve been to but it was still cool to see. The main tower in the centre of the Shell Keep (stone wall at the top of the earth mound) isn’t there anymore, but the shell keep is, and you can still walk around the top of it. The main courtyard (known as the bailey) wasn’t all that big but was the site of most of the accommodation, on site storage, workshops, stables and kitchens to keep the castle going. Having been built by the Normans, the castle was already old and falling into disrepair by the Tudor era and is now basically just the bailey outer wall, the mound (or motte) and shell keep. You still get an impressive view of the surrounding town, which is what it was built for, though.
When we went back through town, we had a decision to make: cream tea, or go back to try and talk to her great aunt. We decided trying to talk to her was first on the list, so back we went. As soon as we arrived we could tell she was home because the front door was open. When we knocked, a lovely lady came to the door and we enjoyed talking to her, but unfortunately while her first name was the same as the one we were looking for, her last name was not. So that was a bit disappointing, but we went and relaxed in the sun at the pub instead.
The final adventure of the day came when we decided to make our way back to Exeter so I could go to ECU Central for the last meeting of the year. We found the train station without too much difficulty but found that the train we had been waiting for had been delayed so long that it was no longer the next train! I messaged the people I go to ECU with to let them know I would be late but was still planning on getting there, and settled down to wait 45 minutes for the train. It came along and we got back to Exeter fine, no problem there. Only, ECU started at 7:30 and it was currently 7:25, and it took 25 minutes to walk from that station to my place, another 10-15 to get to where Central was this week )thankfully it was on campus in town, not the main campus up the hill), and I wanted to pick up some gifts I had for people, too. Solution: I would catch the train from St Davids (where we were) to St James (near my hall) to save time! This only works if the trains line up right, but at that time of day they did! So I was back and leaving my place, having picked up the gifts, by 7:45, and got to ECU before the main speaker started at 8pm! I was quite pleased with that timing, I must admit 🙂
Yesterday was a quieter day but today I am off to Cirencester in the Cotswolds for the weekend with OODS which should be a lot of fun! They are meeting for breakfast first, so once I finish writing this I’ll head on down to St Davids again to join them.